Social security: The Deficit will Plummet Again in 2019, According to the Commission des Comptes

The social security deficit will widen in 2019

SOCIAL: The deficit of the Social Security “would widen” between 1.7 and 4.4 billion euros

The budget of the  Secu still has the lead in the wing. Returning last year to its lowest level in two decades, the deficit “would widen” again in 2019, between 1.7 and 4.4 billion euros, according to a summary of the Accounts Committee, whose AFP got a copy on Monday.

In September 2018, Agnès Buzyn and Gérald Darmanin proudly announced a deficit at the lowest since 2001 (-1.2 billion euros) and provided, finally, the return to equilibrium for 2019. But the wind turned and the promise shattered the reality of the economic slowdown and the concessions, considered expensive, to the ”  yellow vests  “.

An increase of 3.1%

According to the Accounts Commission, this relapse “results essentially from a growth in the wage bill (…) significantly lower than the initial forecast” of the government. Instead of the expected 3.5% in the autumn, Bercy is only counting on an increase of 3.1%, according to the stability program sent to Brussels in April.

But because of the “premium of Macron ” voted in December (total exemption of contributions and taxes up to 1,000 euros), the Social Security will be content with 2.9%. Either, at the end of the day, “less than expected revenue” of the order of 1.7 billion euros, the equivalent of the amount of the expected deficit, in the best case. Because the addition could be worse if the State did not compensate the Secs other “emergency measures” adopted at the end of the year, at the height of the crisis of “yellow vests”.

The exemption of contributions on overtime from January 1 and the lowering of the CSG rate for a portion of retirees, will cost “respectively 1.2 and 1.5 billion euros,” says the Accounts Committee. What aggravate the “digging” of the deficit “which would reach then 4.4 billion,” she continues, adding that “the trajectory of return to the equilibrium of Social Security could be questioned.”

Consequences until 2020

Especially since the future promises to be less rosy than expected: with economic growth revised from 1.7% to 1.4% this year, the scenario of a Social Security surplus in 2020 “would also risk being compromised “.

In addition to what it will finance the new gestures in favour of pensioners, announced by Emmanuel Macron in April: reindexing a majority of pensions on inflation and increase the “minimum contributive” to 1,000 euros for a full career. Two measures whose “total cost is estimated at 1.5 billion euros and deteriorate all the balance of Social Security,” warns the Accounts Committee.

This lasting “deterioration” would compromise another commitment of the executive: the recovery and repayment of a balance of 15 billion social debt, impossible with accounts in the red, which would expose the Sécu to the risk of a rise in interest rates. A warning identical to that of the High Council of Social Protection Financing, which judged from March that the exit of the deficits was “questioned” and then estimated losses for 2019 to 3.6 billion euros .

Revise the numbers

The government has known for several months that its initial projection has become chimerical. Agnès Buzyn had acknowledged in January:  “The return to balance in 2019 is compromised. ” But the figures have still not been revised, leaving room for doubt about a desire to let slip the deficit of the Social Security not to increase that of the State.

“We will all work together to improve this deficit so as to resume the path originally planned,” said the Minister of Solidarity and Health in early May before the Senate, referring the subject to the 2020 budget, which will be presented in late September .

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